Granit Xhaka and Mikel Arteta left fuming with Arsenal pair after draw with Slavia Prague

FBL-EUR-C3-ARSENAL-SLAVIA PRAGUE
Arsenal saw victory snatched away from them at the death (Picture: Getty Images)

Both Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and midfielder Granit Xhaka were left fuming with their defenders – specifically Gabriel Paulista and Cedric Soares – after Slavia Prague pinched a 1-1 draw at the Emirates in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final.

The Gunners only took the lead in the 86th minute of the match through Nicolas Pepe, but they couldn’t hang on as Tomas Holes equalised deep into stoppage time.

The equaliser came from a corner which appeared avoidable, but Cedric Soares passed the ball back to Gabriel Paulista at centre-back, who mis-controlled it and put the ball out of play.

While it may have gone against Arsenal’s passing ethos to do so, Xhaka wanted either man to just get rid of the ball given the clock was ticking down.

The Swiss midfielder was reported by Goal as screaming at teammates at the end: ‘Just clear the fu**ing ball away man!’

Arteta did not name names at the end of the match but was clearly referring to the Cedric-Gabriel mix-up that cost his side the win.

‘We played two or three balls in certain areas that we should not do,’ said the Spaniard.

‘We put ourselves on the back foot, concede the corner and from there they put a lot of bodies in there and anything can happen.

‘Obviously it changes a lot the feeling after the game.’

Gunners legend Martin Keown felt that Gabriel showed panic in giving possession away, but also blamed the ‘atrocious’ marking at the resulting corner.

Again it was Cedric who was at fault, allowing Holes to get to the ball first.

‘It’s gut-wrenching really, you’d thought Arsenal had just about done enough,’ he said. ‘They had good opportunities in the game.

‘They got the goal after making the changes, the substitutes gave Arsenal much more energy

‘The marking for the corner is atrocious or non-existent.

‘Gabriel in the build up to that, there’s panic, a nervousness.

‘No clean sheets in 14 games now it showed tonight when they needed it most, to keep a clean sheet in the last 5 or 10 minutes, they just couldn’t do it.’

MORE : Ian Wright criticises Arsenal players and Mikel Arteta after Slavia Prague draw in Europa League

MORE : Martin Keown slams two Arsenal players in disappointing draw with Slavia Prague

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